Ravens squander 21-7 3rd quarter lead, lose to Steelers 31-24

January 15, 2011 | Drew Forrester

Four decades and counting.

Baltimore can’t beat Pittsburgh when it matters.

The Orioles couldn’t do it.

The Colts couldn’t do it.

And the Ravens haven’t done it.

Add to the list of folks the Ravens can’t beat a certain quarterback named Ben Roethlisberger.  When the game was on the line Saturday night, he delivered a perfect 58 yard strike to Antonio Brown that led to the game-winning TD run with 1:39 to play.

The game also included an epic second half choke job by John Harbaugh’s team, as they frittered away a 21-7 halftime lead and fell to the Steelers, 31-24, in what many will deem an instant classic.

It won’t be remembered as a classic in Baltimore.

It will be remembered for what it was: a game the Ravens had well in hand until they gave the ball away three times in the 3rd quarter.

The defeat means Baltimore is now 0-7 against Pittsburgh sports teams in post-season play, including an 0-3 mark for the Ravens, who also lost in the Steel City back in January 2009 with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

This one probably hurts worse, given it’s two years later in Ray Lewis’ career and the 21-7 halftime lead “smelled” like a win until the turnover machine got oiled up in the 3rd quarter.

Lots of blame can go around on this one.  Joe Flacco threw it away and fumbled it away.  Ray Rice put it on the ground early in the 3rd quarter and gave momentum back to the Steelers.  A Marcus Smith holding call negated a Lardarius Webb punt return for a TD that would have staked the Ravens to a late 4th quarter lead.  And moments later, Anquan Boldin dropped a sure touchdown in the 4th quarter that would have put the Ravens had 28-24.  The final mistake was on Webb, who was beat on a go route straight down the sideline by Pittsburgh’s Brown, setting up the final score.

There wasn’t one goat in purple, that’s for sure.

A lot of people contributed.

The malady lingers on for the Ravens, who simply can’t beat the Steelers when the games are really important.

And that’s not a low blow…unfortunately — it’s just a fact.